What are the Different Types of Birthing Techniques?

Childbirth can be an exciting but somewhat scary process for expectant mothers. Many experts recommend adopting a childbirth technique or method to help ease the process of bringing an infant into the world. There are many different types of birthing techniques; choosing the best one may be a matter of personal preference and the circumstances of a pregnancy. Some women may even use different birthing techniques with each pregnancy.

Natural childbirth is one of the best known birthing techniques, and involves refraining from the use of numbing drugs during labor. Some women believe that it is important to be fully conscious and involved in the birthing process, in order to have a more meaningful experience and be mentally prepared to care for the baby's needs immediately. Natural childbirth tends to wax and wane in popularity. Some women who intend to refuse drugs change their minds in the face of painful contractions, whereas those who plan to use drugs may decide not to if labor is easier than expected.

One of the most consistently popular birthing techniques is Lamaze®, which stresses focused concentration to distract the mind from the pain of labor. This system usually requires the mother to have a birthing partner, who may be the father, a relative, or close friend. The birthing partner will stay with the mother through delivery, trying to help by guiding her through breathing techniques, massage, and focused meditation.

Water birthing is one of the most unusual birthing techniques, first studied in the Soviet Union and France during the 1960s. This method involves placing a mother in labor in a large tub of warm water to help ease pain and relax muscles. Birthing a baby into warm water is also believed to help ease the transition for the infant from the warm, secure womb to the unknown world outside. Water birthing is usually only recommended in pregnancies that show no sign of complication, and should generally be overseen by an experienced physician or midwife.

Home birth with midwife attendance is regaining popularity in some parts of the world. Until the 20th century, most women did not give birth in hospitals, instead staying in the comfort of their homes under the supervision of an experienced midwife. Although some doctors express concern that a home birth puts an infant and mother at risk if there are unforeseen complications that require immediate medical care, others suggest it may actually be a safer environment for a normal birth, since both the infant and mother are protected from the often higher risk of infection in a hospital. Some midwives work with hospitals to arrange fast transportation and advanced care if a labor shows signs of becoming too complicated.


Discuss this Article

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?